Don’t say ‘I’ll take any job’

Sep 28th, 2009 | By | Category: Job Interview, News
Smart job hunters   present more than one option. ©   Dan Driedger, iStockphoto

By JOE GRIMM

A TV news report on job-hunting in this economy recently told viewers they should never say, “I’ll do anything,” in a job interview.

But doesn’t that show you are flexible about jobs?

Yes, but it might also say that your job search is not on target or that you lack career focus. This can imply you don’t have a career focus.

That may be an unfair assessment on the part of the interviewer, but it happens.

Even in good job markers, job-seekers have wondered whether to narrow their journalism job applications or broaden them. I suggest a blended approach.

USE A BLENDED APPROACH

Let’s say you want to be a health reporter, but are happy for now to be a general reporter and to grow into the health reporting role later. What should you say, that you are a general assignment reporter or a health beat reporter?

Don’t narrow your options. Keep them open by expressing your intention in a few more words than a simple choice might take: “I am a darn good reporter and love doing it and would one day like to try the health beat.”

This is a good way to go when the newsroom has more than one opening or when you are not sure where all the openings are.

This tells the recruiter who is looking for a generalist that here is someone who, down the road, might become a health reporter. It is always good to have a few backups on staff and to hire people for something other than the last job they will ever want to have.

The recruiter who happens to be looking for a health reporter has heard that the candidate has an interest in the beat and happens to love reporting. This could be a fit, too.

RECRUITERS TRY TO NARROW THE FIELD

To find the best candidates, recruiters cast a wide net and then toss out the fish, one at a time, until they find the best one. So, they ask for your help in finding reasons to eliminate you. One reason can be, “interested in something else.” Another can be, “not very passionate about this position.”

Interviewers may push you toward declaring a preference to help them eliminate you. Resist that. Instead of giving them reasons to be tossed back, give reasons why you should be kept. The blended answer does that.

My favorite general application: I was working at The Oakland Press in Pontiac, Mich., when someone from the front desk brought up a completed job application. Where it asked which position the job applicant sought, he had penciled in, “Eny one.”

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